(CITY OF MEMPHIS NEWS RELEASE) – In a progressive leap forward, the Memphis Public Library will begin eliminating the collection of all overdue fines associated with the rental of books and other educational material. This decision supports an ongoing effort to eliminate many key barriers which interfere with access of library services particularly as they relate to early childhood literacy and grade level reading. As of November 18th, 2019, MPL will officially join the ranks of 140+ libraries nationwide who have integrated a ‘no fines’ policy as part of their business model.
Library leadership is confident that this new policy will see an uptick in both library usage as well as returns of overdue library material- a benefit to all who utilize library services. As fines are noted as the number one deterrent of current and past library patrons, Library staff hopes that the new policy will see more patrons return, reactivating a large portion of the 190,000 dormant library accounts. Increased library card adoption is also among the key benefits of implementing this new policy. “There is mounting evidence that indicates eliminating fines increases library card adoption and library usage,” states the American Library Association.
“We are excited to say that this is a huge step towards elimination of barriers of access of materials and books. We are thrilled to be among the first libraries in the nation to eliminate fines, so this is a major step forward for Memphis.” says Keenon McCloy, Director of the Memphis Public Library.
“Children are the most affected by overdue fines from the perspective that they cannot return materials, and yet they cannot check out materials because of late fees. Now, any person can check out materials as long as they have returned items that are outstanding. Anything we can do to eliminate barriers to access will assist us in increasing literacy and educational attainment. This is truly a great day for Memphis and for Memphians!”